First things first. If you’re in pain it's best to get an okay from your doctor before trying yoga. Severe pain needs professional help. Once you get the go-ahead you can try these 7 gentle and restorative poses for back pain. If you’re not in acute pain but suffer from occasional soreness and aches you’ll also greatly benefit from this series. And for those of you that don’t have back pain, this practice is the best preventative medicine!
The best thing about it is that you can spend a few minutes a day performing these from anywhere! Just roll out your yoga mat and you're good to go.
Back pain is eased with yoga because the physical practice helps improve flexibility and muscular strength. This sequence will help you lengthen your spine, stretch your muscles and over time help to return your spine back to its proper alignment. Begin slowly (see my previous blog for some beginners tips before you get started) and gradually increase the intensity over time by holding the poses for longer.
#1 Cat Cow
Made up of two poses that flow into each other, Cat/Cow is excellent for warming up the spine and gives you an opportunity to feel out where your back pain is coming from.
To begin start on all fours, make sure that your hands are placed directly under your shoulders and your knees are hip-distance apart (alignment is key in yoga!)
Take a deep inhale breath, at the same time arch your back, lift your tailbone and look upwards. On the next exhale suck in your belly, round your back and look downwards.
Repeat this at your own pace at least 10 times or as long as feels comfortable.
#2 Child's Pose
This pose can feel like a huge relief during a really tough yoga class. The yoga teacher will often invite you to return to this pose if your feeling overwhelmed or in need of a break from the more dynamic postures
Enter the pose by kneeling on the floor, spread the knees apart whilst keeping the toes touching, lower the torso between the thighs whilst extending your arms forward. This works deep into the hips, if this is too much you can keep knees together and rest across your thighs, still aim to stay active within the posture whilst keeping your arms stretching forwards.
#3 Thread The Needle
This pose provides a gently stretch to the upper back whilst as the same time releasing any tension in the neck. Starting in Childs pose take an inhale breath and lift your right shoulder up towards the sky at the same time keeping your hand touching the floor, slightly looking under your right armpit. On the exhale thread your left arm under your body toward the right side, bringing your left cheek to the ground if possible! To deepen the stretch you can walk your right fingertips forward. Slow come out the same way you went in. Take a breath and repeat on the other side.
#4 Downward Dog
Soooo good for stretching, lengthening and strengthening not only your back but hamstrings and core which are all connected to back pain.
To get into Downward dog begin on all fours and push up into it. If this feels too much then you can keep your knees slightly bent until your hamstrings loosen up over time. You can also straighten one leg as you bend the other and alternate this unit you feel more comfortable.It may feel a little much on the wrists if you’re not used to it, be sure to try and distribute your body weight evenly between the hands and the feet. Rest in Childs pose if needed and try again.
#5 Reclined Spinal Twist
Spinal twists are a great way to relieve built-up tension and stress in the back.
Lie down on your back and bend both your knees towards your chest. Stay here for a moment, you can even rock back and forth or side to side to give you back a little massage against your mat. Release your left leg to the floor keeping your right knee bent, place your left hand on your right knee and gently pull it towards the ground on your left. Bring your leg across your body only as far as feels comfortable and try to keep your right shoulder on the ground. Look over your right shoulder and stay here for 8- 10 breaths. Come back to hugging both knees in towards your chest and then repeat on the other side.
#6 Bridge Pose
This one will receive a lot of tension in the lower spine as well as build up your core and glute strength, all of which will help reduce back pain.
From a lying position bend your knees until your feet are flat on the floor. Place your hands flat by your sides. From here you should be able to touch your heels with your fingertips. Take an inhale breath and lift your pelvis up engaging your core. Push the floor away as you lift and tuck your chin to your chest. Repeat 10 times, make sure you sync the inhale & exhales with your movement.
Ahhh, Savasana, the best posture of them all. Also know as dead body pose and often taught at the end of a sequence where we can rest, relax and let all the benefits of yoga class sink in.
Simply lie on your back, arms relaxed by your side and separate the legs slightly. Close your eyes and let everything completely go. Pay attention to your breath and notice how your body feels after giving it some well earned love.
We hope this gives you some relief from any aches and pains you may feel in your back. Stay tuned for next week where we will release part 2 of this 4-part series. Remember, just a few minutes a day can have a HUGE impact 💕
Lisa is a contributing writer for Truth Naturals. Her experience originating from being a certified holistic health coach, blogger and yoga teacher for 10 years. Lisa is extremely passionate about health and wellness, natural remedies and plant-based nutrition. You can find her on Instagram at @livesimplylisa
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